Silver Award Winner at the Irish Food Awards Blas na hEireann

Niamh’s Story

Niamh’s Story

My name is Niamh Hegarty and I’m a local, born and raised in East Cork. My education to date has always been focused on the food industry. Having studied Commerce and Chinese in UCC I went on to join the IBEC Food and Drink Programme where I was placed with ABP Food Group. From there I decided to travel and gain more International experience. Upon my return I completed a Masters in Global Business again with a core focus around food, studying the mission statements and value statements of food businesses in Ireland. As my interest in food grew I decided to complete a 5 week course at Ballymaloe Cookery School. This is where the water kefir story begins.

Inspired by the learning’s around fermented food and beverages I decided to look into them some more. I was especially interested in water kefir because of its key health benefits and good taste factor. I started to produce it just for my own consumption but as friends and family started asking for some I decided to attempt making more.

In parallel I started a food business called Niamh’s Larder which started as a picnic box business, that grew into a food trailer and further developed into my hosting Neighbourfood, an online farmer’s market. I gained some valuable recognition and you can see me taking part in the RTE show Battle of the Food Trucks, listen to me on a Neighbourfood podcast on the food truck revolution or read about me in some national and local papers. You may have also heard me on radio around Ireland like: RedFM, 96fm and the famed Neil Prendeville show.

All of this grew my confidence and gave me a valuable voice within Ireland’s food industry. With this and with the sales of my water kefir growing in this past year I started to look at my next steps. 

Since I have been producing and selling Water Kefir which is a fermented non alcoholic beverage for just under two years I have gained a lot of insight.